Astana plunged into controversy again over Boom

Fri Jul 3, 2015 6:39pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

UTRECHT, Netherlands (Reuters) - The Astana team were plunged into controversy again when Dutch rider Lars Boom faced being thrown out of the Tour de France because of low Cortisol levels on the eve of the start.

Low levels of the hormone can be explained by the use of corticoids, anti-inflammatory drugs that are allowed out of competition but forbidden while racing unless a rider is granted a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

Astana, the team of defending Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali, are members of the MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling) that applies stricter rules than the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

"According to article 9 of the MPCC the return to competition will be made after at least eight days of rest," the MPCC said in a statement on Friday.

UCI regulations do not forbid Boom from starting Saturday's first stage, a 13.8-km individual time trial.

Team manager Alexandre Vinokourov suggested Astana could leave the MPCC so that Boom may begin the race.

"Either the UCI allows us to replace Boom or he starts with us. Never mind the MPCC," the Kazakh told the French sports daily L'Equipe.

Astana made a formal request to the UCI to ask if Italian reserve Alessandro Vanotti could take the Dutchman's spot in the squad but they were denied permission.   Continued...

Lars Boom of the Netherlands crosses the finish line to win the 155.5 km fifth stage of the Tour de France cycling race from Ypres Belgium to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut July 9, 2014.   REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen